What it takes to be an ad that’s worth spreading

Recently, TED released it’s list of “Ads Worth Spreading” winners for 2012. It is very interesting how the advertising industry has changed. Years ago, ads were essentially seen as an interruption to your favorite tv show. Nowadays, ads are also a form of entertainment. They delivery more than just advertising.

To be part of TED’s list, the agency doesn’t only need to show innovation and creativity, but translate this into a simple and attractive concept that also has a high impact on consumer behavior. So…what does that mean?

In analyzing the videos, I came up with a few points that the winners have in common. If you are thinking about how to create extraordinary campaigns, give some thought to the following:

  1. Be sensible and authentic: Stay in tune with the latest events and how people feel about them. Take advantage of the zeitgeist. Observe daily life moves, observe how people behave (see the Coca-Cola ad) and try to translate that in an out-of-the-box kind of way. People are amazed when simple things, part of their routine, are presented in an unconventional manner that surprises them. The ultimate goal is to inspire an emotional connection with your audience (see the Expedia ad).
  2. Brand position and values: Is there anything going on in the world that is related to your company? What’s your brand position in that cultural discussion? How can you express it through a video? Consumers make their decisions not only based on price and product benefits, but also on the value that the company transmits (see the Channel 4 ad). Be consistent, demonstrate your ideals (not only your corporate culture) and what you really care about. Remember that people look after companies on the Internet and their positive opinion is correlated to the way companies do business, so make sure to show that through your campaigns.
  3. Teach/Deliver something: I have noticed that the most commented ads are those that do not place emphasis one product itself, but instead emphasize the idea behind it. For example, most of the 2013 winners only show the brand’s name in the last seconds of the video. It works because consumers don’t want to feel pressured to buy something. They want learn from the ads, be entertained by ads, and get something new.
  4. Action after watching – Success is a reflection of how much your ad is viral. With social media, people want to be the first ones to share the latest video or picture. Make sure that your creation sparks the feeling of “I want to share this with my friends, I want to discuss what is shown in this ad”. Beyond that, actions also include changing of perspective (see the Rainforest ad).  So when creating your next campaign, think about the kind of feedback and engagement you want from your audience.

If you want to check these incredible ads, here is the playlist:

Expedia – “Find Yours”
Coke – “Security Cameras”
Melbourne Metro Rail – “Dumb Ways to Die”
Dell – “Meet Annie: The Girl Who Could Fly”
TNT – “Your Daily Dose of Drama”
Rainforest Alliance – “Follow the Frog”
Channel 4 (UK) – “Meet the Superhumans”
GlaxoSmithKline – “The Crowd”
Dodge – “The Farmer”
The Guardian – “Three Little Pigs”

Finally, we would love your opinion. What do you think is key for an ad be meaningful for whomever is watching?

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